Youth-Only Pheasant Hunt Weekend Oct. 14-15

Pheasant hunting season in Western New York opens Saturday, Oct. 21, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC will release approximately 3,700 adult ring-necked pheasants on Region 9 lands open to public hunting for this fall’s pheasant hunting season. Stocked pheasants will be provided by DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca, NY.

A special youth-only pheasant hunting weekend will take place in Western New York on Oct. 14-15. The hunt is scheduled one week prior to the regular pheasant hunting season and will provide junior hunters (ages 12-15 years old) the opportunity to hunt pheasants with a licensed adult companion when fewer hunters are afield. Junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter during the youth pheasant hunt. Accompanying adults may not possess a firearm or take a pheasant during this special season. During the two-day youth hunt, junior hunters are allowed to take two birds per day, as allowed during the regular season. All other pheasant hunting regulations remain in effect. A special permit is required to hunt during the youth-only weekend at Joseph Davis, Golden Hill, and Wilson-Tuscarora State parks in Niagara County.

DEC encourages hunters to review the 2023-2024 New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide before going afield and to be sure of their targets and beyond when hunting. The guide identifies boundary restrictions and other important information and is available on DEC’s website. “Rooster only” and “rooster and hen” boundary descriptions are noted on page 47 of the guide.

Hunters are reminded to ask permission from private landowners before hunting on their lands. Many pheasant release sites are available for hunting thanks to the cooperation of private landowners. Good landowner/hunter relations are critical to ensuring these areas remain open to hunting in future years.

A special permit is required for hunting small game during the opening day of pheasant season on Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area in the town of Collins (Erie County) and Harwood Lake Multiple Use Area in the town of Farmersville (Cattaraugus County). To ensure the safety of hunters and DEC staff while pheasant stocking is occurring, pheasant hunting will not be allowed on Fridays at Carlton Hill Multiple Use Area and on Thursdays at Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area and Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area during October and November.

Hunting throughout the pheasant season is allowed at Golden Hill, Joseph Davis, and Wilson-Tuscarora State parks in Niagara County. However, permits are required on Oct. 14, 15, Oct. 21, Oct. 28, and Nov. 4 for Golden Hill, Joseph Davis, and Wilson-Tuscarora State parks. There will be no pheasant hunting at Golden Hill, Joseph Davis, and Wilson Tuscarora State parks on release days-Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Hunters wishing to hunt pheasants in Allegany State Park are reminded that they must pick up a free hunting permit at the Administration Building near Red House Lake before hunting in the park. No small game hunting is allowed in Allegany State Park during the regular big game season that runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 10.

After the loss of the pheasant flock at DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm earlier this year due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), DEC acquired ring-necked pheasants from a commercial hatchery to supplement fall upland bird hunting opportunities around the state. DEC releases 30,000 pheasants statewide each year on more than 100 properties open to the public for pheasant hunting.

Please refer to the attached table for a summary of the number of pheasants to be stocked and released in Western New York for regular pheasant season. Questions regarding pheasant stocking can be referred to DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife at 716-851-7010 in Buffalo or 716-372-0645 in Allegany. For more information about pheasant hunting in New York, including an interactive map of pheasant stocking locations, visit DEC’s website.